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last updated: 10/10/2012

Retirement Resources


Most of us know it is smart to save money for those big-ticket items we really want to buy – a new television or car or home. Yet you may not realize that probably the most expensive thing you will ever buy in your lifetime is your….retirement.

Perhaps you never thought of “buying” your retirement. Yet that is exactly what you do when you put money into a retirement nest egg. You are paying today for the cost of your retirement tomorrow.

Many people mistakenly believe that Social Security will pay for all or most of their retirement needs. The fact is, since its inception, Social Security has provided a minimum foundation of protection. A comfortable retirement usually requires Social Security, pensions, personal savings and investments. In short, paying for the retirement you truly desire is ultimately your responsibility. You must take charge. You are the architect of your financial future.

--US Department of Labor Employee Benefits Security Administration

Those living in retirement now can provide valuable insight to people getting ready to make that transition, from knowledge of the basic fundamentals such as the key elements of a successful income plan, to identifying resources that can help with critical decisions that need to be made. This can have a dramatic impact on the quality of life today’s pre-retirees will experience when they retire.

What retirees wish they had done:

  • Created a budget
  • Created an asset allocation strategy
  • Developed an income source withdrawal strategy
  • Better understood 401(k) plan payout options
  • Retired later

Fidelity reports that although the vast majority of pre-retirees (81%) say they have a high level of confidence that they will be able to live the lifestyle they want in retirement, many have yet to complete a number of critical planning steps.

  • 2/3 of pre-retirees have not completed a budget of anticipated income and expenses
  • 3/4 have not yet determined an asset allocation strategy for managing their income in retirement while seeking continued grown for their savings.
  • 28% report they fully understand how much they can spend monthly during retirement without outliving their savings.
  • Less than 23% say they fully understand which retirement income sources to spend first to minimize taxes.
  • 50% of the pre-retirees surveyed were also unsure of the age at which most people can withdraw money from a tax-deferred savings plan without incurring a penalty.

Fidelity also reports that when recent retirees were asked what advice they would offer to a friend or family member within a year of retiring, they most often recommended seeking guidance to help with the retirement transition.


  • Do your homework
  • Make a retirement plan
  • Get help

--Sharon O’Brien Guide to Senior Living


Suggested Timelines

5 Years Before Retirement: Set the stage for retirement
  • Define your desired lifestyle
  • Choose your target retirement date
  • Assess the financial risks of retirement
    • How long will savings need to last?
    • What is the effect of inflation on future purchasing power?
    • At what rate to withdraw assets?
    • Consider rising health care expenses
  • Determine potential gaps in savings
  • Catch up on savings


3-5 Years Before Retirement: Gather retirement information
  • Learn about the retirement process
    • Seek income planning guides and retirement planning seminars
  • Review your retirement benefits
  • Assess future health care needs
  • Understand Social Security
1-3 Years Before Retirement: Assemble your retirement plan 
  • Learn the details and clarify any questions about benefits, decisions you need to make, payout options.
    • Remember some decisions cannot be changed once you’ve retired.
  • Create a retirement budget
  • Develop your retirement income stream
  • Revisit your retirement asset allocation
  • Think about long term care
1 Year or Less From Retirement: Activate Your Retirement Plan 
  • Consolidate and automate
    • Start consolidating retirement accounts (your sources of income). Seek services that allow you to view all accounts from one source. This allows you go gain more control and simplify life.
    • Automate as many financial transactions as possible(automatic/direct deposit, automatic bill payments)
  • Contact Social Security to obtain necessary paperwork to file for payment and start the income flow.
  • Work with employer to finalize all retirement account payroll options, and make arrangements for payments to begin.
  • Create your retirement “paycheck”
    • Finalize withdrawal strategy. Determine which sources you will withdraw from first.
  • Activate your health care coverage (Medicare, supplemental coverage, etc.)


NOTE: Seek your own financial advisor to get retirement planning advice that is tailored to your finances and lifestyle.


  • Employees in the PERF Retirement Plan must submit their application for retirement benefits at least 3 months prior to date of retirement. Contact Sue Dukeman (UHRS – 855-2986 or for an estimate, to discuss the options available for retirement income, and to prepare the application and have it submitted.
  • Employees in the IU Retirement Plan should schedule a meeting with the vendor or vendors with whom they have money invested (Fidelity or TIAA-CREF) at least 90 days before retirement as well. There is no application process and distributions can begin much quicker than with PERF, but it is important to have time to discuss all the options and have plenty of time to make decisions. Appointments can be made by phone or on-line for either Fidelity or TIAA-CREF at
  • Contact Social Security at least 90 days before retirement.
  • Any employee with IU Retiree Status should also set up a time to talk to or contact Karen Hill (UHRS – 856-4459 or Karen will assist employees in making sure they know exactly when they are eligible and what benefit options for continuing health and welfare benefits are available.


The following links to resources and information may assist you in your retirement planning.


University Human Resources



Retirement Plans



Social Security

Apply Online for Retirement Benefits

Benefit Calculator







Retirement Planning



AARP: Retirement


U.S. Department of Labor

Retirement Plans, Benefits, and Savings

Top 10 Ways to Prepare for Retirement


CNN Money


American Savings Education Council



National Endowment for Financial Education


Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Senior Living

Retirement Planning


Assisted Living Facilities


last updated: 10/10/2012